In order to really get everything you can out of your wine tasting experience, it’s important to use as many of your senses as you can to get the full feeling of a particular wine. The taste is not the only thing about a great wine there is to be appreciated, so take a step back and approach your wine tasting with your full attention.
Whether you’re hosting a wine tasting party or participating in a tour, you’ll want to be able to clearly see the wine you’ll be tasting. A white background or table cloth should be provided to hold the wine against so you can see the subtle colour hues that may be present. A clear glass should be used as opposed to anything coloured or frosted and the glass should be held by the stem to avoid smudging on the bowl.
Visual clues can tell you a fair bit about any given wine. Deep purple hues for red wines will tell you they’re still young while a more brownish tinge can indicate an older vintage. White wines may turn more golden as they age. Swirling your wine in the glass and looking for the film that coats the side, known as its legs, can give you an idea of the alcohol content.
Before tasting the wine, swirl it around in the glass, inhale, and get a feel for the aroma. Fruity, earthy, or spicy scents may be detected and will give you an idea of the wine’s flavour. A cork smell or moldy scent can alert you to a wine that may be off before you taste it.
Once you take a sip, move the wine around your mouth a bit. Not only will you prevent a shock to your palate, you will allow the wine to hit all areas of your mouth which respond to sweet, sour, salty and bitter tastes. Allowing some air into your mouth will aerate the wine and may allow you to better judge the flavours.
It may take some time to develop your wine appreciation skills, but tasting as many wines as possible will add to your experience and eventually your tastes will become more discerning. Be sure to have a clean palate before tasting and take the time to really evaluate the first impression and the resulting finish. The more skilled you become the more flavours and complexities you’ll be able to notice in different wines.